NEWARK – After four days of a deadlocked jury, a federal judge was forced to declare a mistrial in Sen. Bob Menendez’s 11-week corruption trial.
Judge William Walls declared the mistrial after individually interviewing each person on the 12-member jury, seven women and five men.
The senator’s attorney Abbe Lowell said the jurors wrote they would not budge on their convictions. “”We have each tried to look at this case from different viewpoints but still feel strongly in our positions, nor are we willing to move away from our strong convictions,” they wrote, according to Lowell.
Menendez was indicted April 2015 on multiple charges, including making false statements, conspiracy, Travel Act violations, bribery, and honest services fraud.
Prosecutors alleged the senator conspired with Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, that Menendez would get a favorable outcome for the doctor in Medicare disputes, worth tens of millions to Melgen, and also support the visa applications of Melgen’s girlfriends. Melgen in return lavished nearly a million dollars of gifts and campaign contributions to Menendez, which he then failed to report on financial disclosure forms.
Both men deny the claims.
But Melgen in April this year was convicted by a South Florida federal jury of 67 criminal counts of fraud, in a separate case also involving Medicare.
Menendez has maintained his innocence throughout, claiming that his close friend of 20 years was simply being generous, not seeking any gain.